The last five months have been rather quiet around these parts, and it’s not for lack of things happening, but exactly the opposite. There has been so much going on that I haven’t had the time to write about our vacation or post a recipe (or even a picture) here.
First things first. I graduated! It took 14 years, two countries and a change of degrees, but I am officially an Engineer. Official title being Master of Science in Civil Engineering. Fancy, ain’t it? In order to achieve this, of course, I had to finish my master’s dissertation, write a whole book on it, and defend it in front of my promoter & advisers, plus an infiltrate (foreign doctorate student) that was happy my defense was in English and not in Dutch so he’d be able to follow along. A few weeks later I got to wear a graduation gown and cap and throw said cap in the air for the pictures :)
And then we worked hard for three weeks to get our house(!) in order so we could move in. That meant very long days sanding and prepping walls and ceilings, painting and more painting, installing flooring and bathroom furniture and a whole lot of cleaning. Also getting the kitchen installed (snafu from the company: our counter was requested without a hole for the induction stove, we’re now waiting for it to be replaced).
We then had a fun 1st of November. Epic moving weekend! We managed to move everything with the help of friends & family, and we’re now getting slowly into the hang of (new) things. There are still a few things to finish around the house but it gets done bit by bit.
And finally, the job search for me. Looking for a position as an in-office engineer, doing calculations & stuff. There are many positions for construction managers, but not that many for designing engineers it seems. So the search goes slower than I wish. I have also had my fill of “your profile is very interesting for our company, but we don’t have a matching position at the moment” replies. When they called me!
Anyway, that has been the last five months of my life. Time has flown by and I hope next year I have (make) more time for posting here.
It’s Jan’s birthday, and the birthday boy deserves a birthday cake. I gave him three options to chose from: lemon curd filled lemon cake, chocolate cake or cinnamon oatmeal cake. He chose the latter, because it sounded “weird”. So I adapted a recipe from Dessert for two a little bit, and here we are!
Cinnamon oatmeal cake with salted caramel sauce
Cinnamon oatmeal cake
(adapted from Dessert for two)
- 15 gr oats
- 60 ml hot water (straight from the kettle)
- 85 gr salted butter (or use unsalted and add a pinch of salt)
- 35 gr dark brown sugar (cassonade)
- 30 gr cane sugar
- 1 large egg
- 100 gr all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/8 tsp baking powder
- Preheat oven to 175°C. Line a 15 cm spring form with parchment paper and grease. Set aside.
- In a small bowl / ramekin, add oats & hot water and set to soak.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar very well. Then add the egg and mix (it’ll split, it happens).
- In a smaller bowl, mix flour, cinnamon, baking soda & baking powder. Add dry ingredients and soaked oats (and if there is liquid left, the liquid) to the creamed butter mix, and stir until combined.
- Transfer batter to lined spring form. Bake in oven on center rack for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Remove cake from oven, let it cool for 5 minutes before removing from spring form.
Salted caramel sauce
(adapted from Cookies & Cups)
- 25 gr butter
- 75 gr cane sugar
- 100 ml cream (20% fat)
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- In a big microwave safe bowl melt the butter. Then add the sugar and cream and whisk until the sugar has dissolved.
- Microwave on high (750W) for 2 minutes. Remove from microwave and stir.
- Microwave again for 1 minute, until bubbly and slightly thickened. Remove from microwave, add salt & vanilla extract and mix well.
- Sauce will thicken as it cools.
Cashew nut dip
- 120 gr roasted cashew nuts, soaked in water for 3-4 hours & then drained
- 4 spring onions, white parts only
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
- 1 tsp freeze dried shallot
- 3 tbsp (10 gr) nutritional yeast
- 2 tbps (20 gr) olive oil
- 60-100 ml water
Put all ingredients in a food processor (starting with about 50 ml water). Process until creamy, adding water if necessary. Scrape the sides of the bowl often to obtain a nice creamy dip. Add more water if you want to turn this into sauce for nachos.
Portobello burger with salad in the background
Ingredients (for one burger):
- 1 portobello (about 10-12 cm in diameter, or 70-80 grams in weight)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tbsp grated cheese (mozzarella is a good option) or a slice of cheese to top it all
- salt & pepper
- one pita bread that fits the portobello
- fixings to taste: mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, pickles….
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Oil an oven proof dish that fits the portobelo(s).
- Put portobello(s) in the oven dish, underside up. Season mushroom lightly with salt and pepper.
- Season beaten egg with salt and pepper, and pour it inside the mushroom cap, trying to not spill. Top it with the grated cheese (as much as the cap can hold, do not overfill since it will bake over otherwise) or wait with the cheese for now.
- Put dish with mushroom(s) in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the egg has set. If using sliced cheese, top the mushrooms with it for the last 5 minutes, to allow it to melt.
- Pop the pita bread in a toaster until warm, crunchy and puffed. Let cool enough to handle. Slide burger into pita pocket and add desired toppings.
- It is handy to use a toothpick to keep the burger in place while eating it!
I like to serve the burgers with a big salad: mixed greens, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, and vinaigrette dressing. Feel free to serve whichever way you usually do with burgers.